Effects of escitalopram on autonomic function in posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans of operations enduring freedom and iraqi freedom (OEF/OIF)

Sriram Ramaswamy, Vidhya Selvaraj, David Driscoll, Jayakrishna S. Madabushi, Subhash Bhatia, Vikram Yeragani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Posttraumatic stress disorder is a chronic, debilitating condition that has become a growing concern among combat veterans. Previous research suggests that posttraumatic stress disorder disrupts normal autonomic responding and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. Measures of heart rate variability and QT interval variability have been used extensively to characterize sympathetic and parasympathetic influences on heart rate in a variety of psychiatric populations. The objective of this study was to better understand the effects of pharmacological treatment on autonomic reactivity in posttraumatic stress disorder. Design: A 12-week, Phase IV, prospective, open-label trial of escitalopram in veterans with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder and comorbid depression. Setting: An outpatient mental health clinic at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Participants: Eleven male veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder and comorbid depression. Measurements: Autonomic reactivity was measured by examining heart rate variability and QT interval variability. Treatment safety and efficacy were also evaluated pre- and post-treatment. Results: We observed a reduction in posttraumatic stressdisorder and depression symptoms from pre- to post-treatment, and escitalopram was generally well tolerated in our sample. In addition, we observed a decrease in high frequency heart rate variability and an increase in QT variability, indicating a reduction in cardiac vagal function and heightened sympathetic activation. Conclusion: These findings suggest that escitalopram treatment in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder and depression can trigger changes in autonomic reactivity that may adversely impact cardiovascular health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalInnovations in Clinical Neuroscience
Volume12
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - May 1 2015

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Afghan Campaign 2001-
Citalopram
Veterans
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Heart Rate
Depression
Therapeutics
compound A 12
Psychiatry
Mental Health
Outpatients
Cardiovascular Diseases
Pharmacology
Safety
Mortality
Health
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Effects of escitalopram on autonomic function in posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans of operations enduring freedom and iraqi freedom (OEF/OIF). / Ramaswamy, Sriram; Selvaraj, Vidhya; Driscoll, David; Madabushi, Jayakrishna S.; Bhatia, Subhash; Yeragani, Vikram.

In: Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, Vol. 12, No. 5-6, 01.05.2015, p. 13-19.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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